Car accidents are quite common on roads across the country, and, these can result in permanent injury or death. Annually, the number of collisions averages 6 million, with 3 million drivers, passengers, and pedestrians being injured nationwide. About 2 million drivers experience a permanent injury each year and more than 90 people are killed every day. In California, with approximately 13 million vehicles on the road, the risk of being in an auto collision is very real. Should you be involved in a traffic accident, there are things you should do, but more particularly, things you should
Things You Should NOT Do After Getting into a Car Accident
Everyone who has been involved in a vehicle collision knows it’s more than just an inconvenience, especially if someone has suffered injuries. In the immediate aftermath of a car crash, it isn’t unusual to be confused and afraid. Tons of steel, glass, and other materials colliding at just 25 miles an hour has the equivalent impact on a body as a free fall from a two-story building just over 20 feet in height. At 30 M.P.H., the impact increases to a fall from a three-story building, thirty feet in height.
By California law, the driver of any vehicle involved in an accident resulting in property damage, including vehicles, shall immediately stop the vehicle at the nearest location so as not to impede traffic or otherwise jeopardize the safety of other motorists. Moving the vehicle out of the way does not affect the question of fault. –State of California
With such force, it’s little wonder why so much damage can occur and why some individuals make poor decisions about what to do. If you are in a car accident, you need to make the right choices or you could ultimately suffer serious repercussions from being charged with a misdemeanor, up to a felony, which could land you in jail for between six months to years in prison, along with hundreds to thousands of dollars in fines and restitution.
Here are seven things you should not do after being in an auto accident:
1. Do not apologize to the other driver: While you might be sorry about the accident and want to apologize to the other driver, this is a big mistake. By simply saying something like, “I wasn’t paying attention,” can be used against you as an admission of guilt. California law goes by what’s known as “comparative negligence,” and this means you might share a percentage of the fault.
2. Do not confront another person: You shouldn’t lose your cool after an auto accident, even if the other driver caused it and damaged your car, you, or a passenger. Letting anger take over in this situation is dangerous and instead you focus on your own safety and your passengers, instead.
3. Do not forget to document the scene: If possible, use a camera, your smartphone or tablet to document the scene of the accident. Take as many pictures as you can, including your own vehicle, the other driver’s car, the road and scene around you, as well as any property damage.
4. Do not avoid calling 911: Some people involved in a minor car accident without injury will simply see no need to phone 9-1-1. After all, if no one is hurt, an ambulance won’t be necessary, but a police report will be very valuable to documenting what happened. Do make sure you get a report number from the officer.
5. Do not forget to exchange information: One of the top priorities you should have, other than attending to your safety and medical needs, is to get the other driver’s information. You need the driver’s name, phone number, address, the name of his or her insurance company, and the license plate number.
6. Do not avoid seeking medical attention: Even a low-speed collision, those which are 25 m.p.h. or under, can do a lot of harm to the human body. It is important you seek medical treatment shortly after an accident to be evaluated and to have all of your injuries documented.
7. Do not speak with the other driver’s insurance company: If the other driver is at fault, it is especially wise to not speak with his or her insurance company. You may say something that could harm your settlement. Also insurance companies routinely bully people into accepting low-ball settlement offers. They don’t want you to get help, but instead rely on people’s trusting nature. What you need to do instead is to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to learn about and protect your rights and how much your case might be worth.
If you have been in an accident and have any questions regarding what you should or should not do after a car accident, feel free to give our car accident lawyers a call.